Sir Patrick Stewart has explained why he has a “practically non-existent” relationship with his children in a poignant interview that sheds new light on his life away from the screen.
The Star Trek and Royal Shakespeare Company-trained actor, 83, has two children named Daniel and Sophie with his first wife Sheila Falconer, but said he has “significant grief” over the fact he is now “separated” from them.
Stewart, whose characters include X-Men’s charles xavier and Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard, reflected on his children, who were born in 1967 and 1972, during a new interview. He was asked if he found it difficult to be the father he wanted to be when his children were younger.
”It was,” he told Irish Independent, adding: “Given that I’m separated from my children now, – we don’t have relationships – they have become very important.
“I never thought that this would happen, but both my children are in their 50s – they’re not children anymore, they’re adults. And my relationship with them is practically non-existent.”
Stewart said that “not a day goes by” in which he is “not pained by the memory of my children, who they were and by a sense of responsibility that they became who they are in part because of me and my influence or lack of influence on them.”
Explaining why his relationship with his children is the way it is, he said: “I always put my acting work first, before my family.”
Daniel is now actor who has performed Shakespeare on stage, and whose screen credits include Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Silent Witness. In a 2009 interview with The Independent, Stewart said he was “horrified” when he learnt his son wanted to follow in his footsteps to become an actor.
During this interview, he said of his relationship with his children: “I could’ve done better as a parent, when my kids were little. I was just obsessed with my work and everything else took second place. I’m trying to correct that now wherever possible with my grandchildren [he has four]. And my own children seem to have forgiven me.”
Stewart and Falconer’s marriage lasted for 22 years, but ended in 1990 after an extra-marital affair, which he blamed on “confusion” regarding “who I was and what I was”.
The actor has been married to his third wife, Sunny Ozell, since 2013.
Stewart most recenty reprised his role of Picard in spin-off series Picard.
The Independent has approached Sir Patrick Stewart’s representatives for comment.